Sleight of hand refers to the fine motor skills and dexterity used by entertainers and magicians to trick or fool the eyes of the audience. Typically thought of as pure trickery, the true skill behind effective sleight of hand can be beneficial in other areas as we see on the basketball court.
In the clip below excerpted from Perfect Playmaking: The Complete Point Guard Workout, player development Coach Irv Roland and Boston Celtic Carsen Edwards demonstrate how a quick switch of the hand can confuse a defender and virtually eliminate all options to stop the play from ending in the basket.
Check out the video Inside Hand by Carsen Edwards and Irv Roland below and then we'll break down some key points!
In the drive to the hoop, as Irv Roland describes, there will often be opportunities to get past the defender and if not completely past them, perhaps hip to hip which will be just as effective.
In this scenario, it is important to finish in the most effective way to increase the percentage and likelihood of the score. For Irv Roland in this case, the outside hand should be avoided in favor of using the Inside Hand to finish.
Using the inside hand to finish serves a number of purposes. In the event that the player attempts to use the outside hand, there is a chance for the defender to catch up and perhaps interfere with the outside shot with a block or even steal. Using the inside hand is quicker and more efficient, shortening the shot and increasing the likelihood of the score.
Using the inside hand also takes away the use of the defender's hands unless they want to foul the player driving in to the basket, which serves our purposes as well. By rendering them defenseless against the offense and left to choose between putting defensive hands on them and risking the foul, the opponent's defenses are nullified.
For more Perfect Playmaking from legendary player development Coach Irv Roland and current NBA star Carsen Edwards, check out Perfect Playmaking: The Complete Guard Workout available exclusively from EffectiveBasketball.com.
Irv Roland has trained NBA players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Trae Young, Devin Booker, Carsen Edwards and P.J. Tucker.
Before becoming a Boston Celtic, Carsen Edwards was a star player with the Purdue Boilermakers being named a two-time All American and being instrumental in their 2019 bid for the National Championship. During that year's tournament, Carsen set the single-tournament record for three point shots with 28. The previous record holder had set the record with 6 games, but for Carsen he set it in only 4 games.